Obama to Announce Elena Kagan, as His Supreme Court Pick
May 10, 2010
(ChattahBox)—For the past week, it was widely speculated that President Obama had narrowed his possible top choices for the Supreme Court down to one front runner: Solicitor General Elena Kagan. Now, it’s being reported that Obama phoned Kagan Sunday night with the news. And he is expected to make his nomination official at a Monday morning news conference. Kagan, widely respected as a legal scholar, has broken ground, as the first female solicitor general and as the first female dean of Harvard Law School.
Kagan, at 50, would be the youngest member of the highest court and also the third woman on the bench. She is regarded as a consensus builder, with a self depreciating sense of humor, that the President believes should help bridge the sharp division in the present conservative court.
According to MSNBC, Kagan would become one of the very few Supreme Court judges, never having served as a judge:
“Kagan would be the first justice without judicial experience in almost 40 years. All of the three other finalists she beat out for the job are federal appeals court judges, and all nine of the current justices served on the federal bench before being elevated. The last two justices who had not been judges, William Rehnquist and Lewis Powell, joined the Supreme Court in 1972.”
Not having a judicial record makes it more difficult for conservatives to pick apart her opinions for signs of controversy. But at the same time, the lack of judicial experience could also be used as a mark against her.
Kagan’s controversial decision to ban military recruiters on campus, because of its discriminatory “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy while dean of Harvard Law, is sure to be at the top of the list, when Republican lawmakers question Kagan during the nomination process.
“This action causes me deep distress,” Kagan said. “I abhor the military’s discriminatory recruitment policy.” It is, she said, “a profound wrong — a moral injustice of the first order.”
Nevertheless, with 59 votes in the Senate, Democrats should have an easy time Sheperding Kagan’s nomination through the upper chamber. During the nomination process for solicitor general, seven Republicans voted for Kagan.
President Obama wants Kagan’s nomination wrapped up before the August congressional recess.